Feel as if the season is slipping is away? Kids are heading back to school, Labor Day is just around the corner, "ParaNorman" and "The Bourne Legacy" are the new box office leaders. "But I haven't even seen 'The Avengers' yet," you think sadly to yourself.
Don't fret if your must-see summer movie list has a minimum of check marks -- there is still time! Here are five flicks (and one bonus ring-in) that are cinematic sure-things best experienced as their creators envisaged them to be: on a big screen with state-of-the-art surround sound.
"Brave" This animated gem from Disney and Pixar about a headstrong medieval Scottish warrior princess (Merida) who defies family and convention by refusing an arranged marriage contains a level of detail best appreciated on an oversize screen. Whether it is Merida's flowing auburn locks - which almost appear to twist, curl, bounce and float with a life of their own -, the moss-covered rocks dotting deep, mysterious lochs or the textured, lived-in tartans of the men's kilts, "Brave" offers up epic, family-friendly storytelling anchored by a detailed, visually arresting minutiae.
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"Dark Knight Rises" Tragically, director Christopher Nolan's epic end to his Batman trilogy will forever be associated with and overshadowed by the massacre that took place at a midnight screening of the film in Aurora, Colo. But the movie is still one of summer's biggest, thanks in part to the grandiose, live-action set-pieces (the opening mid-air hijack scene needs to be seen to be believed!). It's become the summer's second biggest grossing film ($836 million international gross and counting) behind "The Avengers." If still available in your area, Nolan's vision of a twisted city saved by a man in a bat costume is best viewed in Imax.
"The Avengers" Having taken just under $1.5 billion at the international box office, this superhero team up is still going strong almost five months after its debut (which was the biggeset domestic weekend opening of all time). Director Joss Whedon masterfully keeps audiences hooked with fun backstories, an A-list cast that includes Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlett Johannson and a final battle sequence that dazzles the senses. Oh, and there's the Hulk, too! What more of an excuse do you need to see it a second, or even fourth time, in the cinema?
"Prometheus" One of the summer's most anticipated prequels left audiences with almost as many questions coming out of the theater as going in. There's no debate however on the grand, sweeping and often haunting scenes director Ridley Scott created for this story set before his seminal sci-fi film "Alien." The Hollywood Reporter called it "visually stunning," while the Associated Press deemed it "strikingly beautiful." And with news that Scott is actively pushing ahead with a follow-up that should arrive on screens in 2014 or 2015, it's a perfect excuse to escape into air-conditioned comfort and try and figure out exactly who the "engineers" are, why are they so upset with us and why does the black "goo" affect different people in different ways?
"The Amazing Sider-Man" Swinging back onto screens with a new cast, costume and villain, this rebooted franchise finds a satisfying emotional depth thanks to leads Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. Visually, the sequences featuring Spidey leaping from skyscraper to building crane and battling Dr. Connors/the Lizard atop the Brooklyn Bridge continues to have audiences clutching their arm rests in vertiginous fear. Leap in and hang on tight.
BONUS MAN CANDY BLOCKBUSTER:
"Magic Mike" Sure the dance sequences are slick and director Steven Soderbergh has a knack for depicting male camaraderie (he also did "Ocean's Eleven"), but the main reason for catching "Mike" while it is still in the cinemas is obvious: the semi-clad beefacke bonanza of stars Channig Tatum, Matt Bomer, Matthew McConnaughey, Adam Rodriguez, Alex Pettyfer and Joe Manganiello. Enough said.